The Brazilian Methodist Church made children its “number one priority” and created this Project as a national network to help local Methodist churches develop supervised activities to keep children off the streets. The goal is to help children become healthy citizens by being exposed to Christian values. Every local church is to organize an after-school program for children between 6 and 14 years of age.
Public school hours are from 9 to 2, and the Project promotes healthy physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual and social development, serving more than 5,000 children in more than 60 locations.
Left alone while parents work, many children fix their own meals, go to school, care for younger siblings and are responsible for the home. Sometimes 7-year-old children are fully responsible for household needs and without adult supervision, they head to the streets to play and get food and meet people who introduce them to a life of drugs, crime and prostitution.
In Rio several years ago there were about 6000 children on the streets and the government machine-gunned them down. later we would see painted in red on the sidewalk figures of 10 children where they died.
There is popular Brazilian expression that provides protection from life’s harsh realities: shade is a place to rest from the brutal sun and represents the care the church offers. Fresh water quenches our thirst and carries the Biblical image of God’s cleansing. It is a place of protection that allows all the opportunity to grow.
This explains why there were 13 people privileged to go on a VIM Mission Trip to Brazil in October 2006.